Virtual Gift Buying Made Manageable

By: Bernadette Reyes 

Today, any Filipino based overseas can send money home and be assured that it’s used for its original intent. 

Gift remittance service provider Ayannah Information Solutions, Inc. offers what it calls Sendah (, which eliminates the need to ship items via balikbayan box by sending the gifts via third party-partners instead.

“The idea is to give migrant workers more flexibility when it comes to spending their hard-earned money as opposed to plain cash remittance,” says Mikko Perez, president and CEO of Ayannah. Sendah pays the merchants on behalf of the overseas Filipino for the purchases, whether product or service, meant for his family members back home, he explains.

Among the purchases that could be made via Sendah are gadgets, clothes, shoes, food items, flowers, gift certificates, medicine, and even cell phone credit. One could even stage a surprise birthday party for their families and friends back home via Sendah.

“Everything is accounted [for] so there’s assurance that their cash is being used for its intended purpose. Users of Sendah pay for what their families need, and trust us to make sure that the product or service they ordered get to their loved ones,” he adds.

Ease of processing 

The process is simple—go to, register for an account on Sendah, load your Sendah wallet with credit, and start shopping online. 

Ayannah has discount deals with merchants in the Philippines, among them Jollibee Foods Corp., Cignal Digital TV, and Mercury Drug, and continues to look out for new partners to offer more products and services to its clientele. 

Sendah also allows customers to save on shipping cost, avoiding the costs associated with sending a balikbayanbox via an international courier. 

“For instance, Sendah offers Sodexo electronic gift certificates which members can send via SMS to any mobile phone in the Philippines and are redeemable at SM malls in the Philippines,” says Perez. 

Delivery-wise, recipients can enjoy the products sooner than if they were sent via courier. “When a customer orders a Jollibee Padala Package, for example, his or her recipient can expect it if not today, then the very next day. The wait time is almost negligible,” he says.

Inclusive and expansive reach 

With Sendah, Perez says they are able to cater to the largely underserved and “unbanked” sectors, especially the rural and urban poor in emerging markets like the Philippines, who have limited access to financial services.

“We want to reach out to the over 10 million Filipinos who are unbanked but who are increasingly on the social and mobile web. We aim to do this by being accessible on mobile phones and tablets and increasing non-credit card payment options to fund gift remittances,” Perez says. 

In the future, Ayannah hopes to serve over 200 million migrants in other communities such as Indians, Bangladeshis, Guatemalans, Mexicans, Senegalis, Nigerians, and Romanians who send over $400 billion yearly to their families.

This article was originally published in the October 2013 issue of Entrepreneur magazine. 

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